Review: Encore by Lori Toland

Review: Encore by Lori TolandEncore by Lori Toland

Series: #4 The Replacement Guitarist
Genres: Contemporary Romance, M/M Romance
Published by Indie/Self Published on September 2, 2014
Pages: 305
Format: eBook
Source: Author
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four-stars  

So it came down to this…Jason and Blaze’s story began so sweetly, they weathered some bumps as they entered a real relationship, they weathered some bigger bumps, and then catastrophe struck breaking all they had into smithereens. That’s where things left off. So yeah, eager to read this final book doesn’t quite cover how I felt when I picked it up. I knew to ‘gird up my loins’ metaphorically speaking because this final leg was going to rock me. And it did that, oh my stars above, did it. I swear these two must get off on a ‘blood, sweat and tears’ style relationship because they certainly put each other-and the reader- through the wringer. Was it worth it in the end? Of course! I was too vested to let these two’s ups and downs get to me because I was gambling that all that they had gone through before had given them something to anchor them through all the storms that came afterward (and I figured love and common sense would kick in at some point).

As can be surmised by my opening thoughts, this book is the final part of a series. Actually, its more like a four-volume story the way it reads. This means that this is not a standalone or something that can be read out of order.

The story opens about a year after Blaze and Jason broke things off. Both have gone on to fame and fortune in their own way seeming to not even look back. Blaze and the band Razor’s Edge are flying high at the top and Jase is now an American household name as a judge on a reality tv music show, Second Chances. They pretend for the world that they are fine, but both admit only to themselves that they are going through the motions and hollow inside save for time with their music.

Things come to a head when they finally and unexpectedly meet face to face. At first the verbal vitriol flies back and forth, but then the old spark kindles into a roaring fire and they fall into bed. Both are hopeful until Jase shies away because somehow the media was tipped off and he worries it will hurt the band and the other performer he’s working with. This is only the beginning of the roller-coaster series of events between the two full of angst, inner demons, fear, photo stocker sending pics to the tabloids, success, defeat, loss and finally hopeful love that never quite dies no matter what the two do to mess things up. Love is the tie and it holds them even when they try to pull apart. But is it ever going to be enough?

The plot on this one is mostly character based as it switches back and forth between Blaze and Jase as narrators. The backdrop of the rock music world, touring and recording is well-sketched and like a mellow non-intrusive yet present minor character. Pacing is good and clips along nicely. The story moved over rough ground lightly without stalling out. The author lets the reader feel the story without making them drown in the emotions of a troubling romance.

It is not an easy read in the sense that the romance is pretty stormy. Sometimes I just shook my head at what these two let get between them and how infernally lucky they were to keep getting all those chances because neither were really pro-active about saving things each time they broke off. Jase is the one who does the pulling back each time, but he is not solely to blame for the screwy stuff that causes trouble. In fact, the ‘Blaze fan club’ really annoyed me the way that it was always poor Jase’s fault. Both jump so quickly to conclusions and then just flee or back away. I wanted to lock them in a room and make them talk it all out.

So why torture myself with these two’s turbulent romance you may ask. Because for all their issues, I loved them as individuals and together. I was determined to see it through and see them happy. For most of the series and particularly this book, their timing was off. They were a right couple, but they weren’t ready to be together and needed to work on some stuff first, particularly Jase. These two are incredibly passionate when they come together. I think when verbal diplomacy didn’t work for them, the physical relationship grounded them and saw them through as they worked through hard stuff.

Jase is not stable and his doubts eat away at him. He is older and wiser in many ways. He sees the bigger picture and for the most part he acts unselfishly. But when his fears or phobias grip him, all bets are off.

Blaze finally came into his own in this final book. For much of the series, he was impulsive, immature and bratty- not that he wasn’t still a bit, but it was tempered more. The time apart matured him, gave him perspective and helped him decide what he really wanted. Jase hurt him whenever he pulled back, but Blaze would take the pain and forgive. He knew Jase so well and held out hope.

There was a little mystery through this one with the sneaky pictures and videos. It was just a side plot, but I really enjoyed the little extra layer it added to the plot.

Another layer that really was a nice touch were the scenes with family. I bawled over Jase’s gram. They are so close and she was his lodestone. Jase and his brother together is always fun. Blaze and the interactions with his bandmates was good too.

So all in all, I am so happy at the way things worked out, but it’s bittersweet because the time with Jase and Blaze is over. Those who enjoy m/m contemporary romance set against a rock music background with two heroes that don’t make love the easy way should give this series a look-see.

My thanks to the author for providing the book in exchange for an honest review.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

Latest posts by Sophia Rose (see all)

  • This book sounds like it will annoy me

    • Oh yes, it might. Haha! These guys get up to some serious angst.

  • I’ve had my fair share of annoying reads but still was able to enjoy the story. It’s having the patience to finish them, lols. 😉

    A rocker m/m romance….hmmmm.

    • It’s weird that I did to take to this series. Most of the time, I’m not really one who likes reading about characters with this much angst. Oddly, I liked these guys enough that I was willing to do a big ‘hang in there’ to the end.

      • I think we readers are a glutton for punishment sometimes , lols.